News in brief
Scientists probe Bolt's secrets
ECLAC predictions on the Caribbean
Jack Warner and Chaguanas West
Belize's Mayans launch lawsuit
Vatican bank scandal
Volunteer for Notting Hill Carnival
Social media - royal baby humour
Quote of the week
Analysing the Bolt magic – As first London, then Moscow prepared to witness the magic of the Lightning Bolt, scientists decided to look a little further into the secrets of the fastest athlete on earth.
The bottom line? Usain Bolt is faster because he exerts more raw energy to counter the fact that he is less aerodynamic than the average person.
Here’s the science bit: researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico worked out that Bolt has a “drag coefficient of 1.2”, which is higher than normal for a human being.
As Britain’s Independent newspaper explained on 26 July, what that means to the rest of us is that he exerts tremendous energy to overcome the air resistance facing his 6ft 5in frame.
This power (a terminal velocity of 12.2 metres for the tech heads) is close to a knockout punch from a heavyweight boxer.
The data was published in the European Journal of Physics, based on the International Association of Athletics Federations’ laser velocity guard device, which measured Bolt’s position and speed every one-tenth of a second during his 2009 Berlin win.
To sum it up, here’s one of the study’s authors, Jorge Hernandez: “Our calculated drag coefficient highlights the outstanding ability of Bolt.
He has been able to break several records despite not being as aerodynamic as a human can be. The enormous amount of work that Bolt developed in 2009, and the amount that was absorbed by drag, is truly extraordinary.”
The Independent went one step further.
In an interview, John Barrow, Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University, reckons that Bolt could slash another 0.13 of a second off his world record if he improved his reaction time at the start of a race and ran in the best wind conditions possible.
Caribbean Intelligence© will be rolling with both the London Anniversary Games and reactions on http://www.caribbeanintelligence.com/content/caribbean-news-analysis and http://www.caribbeanintelligence.com/content/whats-buzz.
Usain Bolt is also our Quote of the Week at the bottom of this page.
ECLAC estimates – The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has published its 2013 Economic Survey which predicts that the Caribbean’s economy will grow by 2% in 2013.
Its 2013 Survey also predicts 4% growth for Central America and 3.1% growth for South America.
ECLAC estimates show 2013 regional growth being led by Paraguay (a 12.5% rise in GDP), followed by Panama (7.5%), with Brazil (2.5%) and Mexico (2.8%) further down the growth list.
ECLAC said that the overall lower growth for the entire region – of 3.5% in April – was lower than original predictions because of slow growth in Brazil and Mexico.
The report indicates that part of the economic slowdown was caused by falling prices for many exports in the first six months of this year, mostly because of the eurozone recession and China’s growth slowdown.
ECLAC proposes ways to boost investment and productivity.
“Despite the positive terms of trade, capital accumulation has been insufficient and there have been limited gains in labour productivity,” ECLAC said.
Headlines on specific Caribbean ECLAC reports:
· Jamaica: “As a result of the signing of an extended Fund facility with the International Monetary Fund, it is now expected that there will be greater confidence in the economy due to expected foreign exchange inflows from IMF, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank in support of Jamaica’s medium-term economic programme.... The economy is expected to grow at 0.5% in 2013 and will show more robust growth in the following year.”
· Barbados: “The Barbados economy continues to be highly susceptible to the external environment… This overall trend bears out the continued sluggishness of the global economy since 2008, as well as the impact of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe in particular over the past year, as Barbados relies heavily on European source markets for its tourism sector, the country’s main economic driver. Overall, long-stay tourist arrivals declined by 12% in April 2013 compared with April 2012, with most source markets showing slight to significant reductions.”
· The Bahamas: “Growth is expected to strengthen to 3.0% in 2013, underpinned by a continued recovery in stopover tourism and construction activity, with spillovers into the wholesale and retail sector. Nevertheless, actual growth will depend on the strength of the recovery in the United States.”
· Guyana: “The Guyanese economy grew by a robust 4.8% in 2012, thanks to the high prices of exportable commodities and to public and private investments, especially in the infrastructure and mining sectors. Government expenditures, which hit record levels in 2012 and 2013, have further boosted the economy through investments in physical infrastructure, ICT and the power supply system, in addition to helping the key mining and agricultural industries to recapitalise and upgrade their facilities. Several infrastructure projects are expected to receive support from foreign governments under agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOU) signed with countries such as China and Brazil... The economy is expected to continue growing in 2013. The mining sector remains the principal driver of growth, due to the high price of commodities.”
· Suriname: “The Suriname economy continues to post robust growth (4.7% in 2011 and 4.4% in 2012), and it is anticipated that in 2013, growth will remain elevated at 4.5%. Economic growth is premised on primary commodity prices, which have been strong so far and are expected to be high for some time.”
Jack Warner and Trinidad’s ruling party – There has been much sound and fury in the by-election for the Chaguanas West constituency in Trinidad.
For those unaware of why a small by-election should be so important in the history of Trinidad and Tobago’s politics, here’s a backgrounder from May of this year, when it became clear that the former Fifa vice president was on a collision course with the party that he helped to propel to power.
For a timeline of the Jack Warner story, here’s another link.
Jack Warner won the 29 July poll decisively and has been re-elected to the Trinidad and Tobago parliament as an independent MP.
He has been celebrating the win both with his supporters and on social media.
As the Caribbean region looks on at what will happen next in the Jack Warner story, some commentators have already started to question whether this is a major change in direction for Trinidad politics.
Mayan people lawsuit – In Belize, the decade-old struggle between the traditional Mayan way of life and modern-day oil prospectors has erupted once again.
The Mayans had signed an agreement with the Belizean government over land rights in the Toledo district.
In 2000, Martin Chen, chair of the Toledo Alcalde Association, said: “We want the government of Belize to respect the rights of the Mayan people. We are not asking for special rights or consideration, we are simply asking the government to respect our ownership of village land, based on our long-standing use and occupancy, as directed by the constitution of Belize.”
Now the Mayan communities are taking legal action against American oil company US Capital Energy over exploration work in their territory.
The communities and their legal representatives filed a suit on 22 and 23 July claiming that the oil company is preparing to drill for oil within its national park area and blocking their access to part of the land.
Caribbean Intelligence© is looking at the situation of Caribbean indigenous people. If you would like to share your comments, check out our story on Trinidad’s Carib community, who are seeking protection similar to the Caribs of Dominica.
Vatican bank scandal – The Italian news magazine L’Expresso and the British Daily Mail have been probing the background of a Vatican Bank official, once based in Trinidad, who was allegedly helped to gain a senior job in Rome by a so-called “gay lobby” within the Vatican’s administrative arm.
The Italian news magazine said that the gay lobby “airbrushed” Monsignor Battista Ricca’s CV, so that Pope Francis made the appointment without knowing the background information.
According to L’Expresso and the Daily Mail, Monsignor Ricca took his gay lover - a former Swiss army captain - with him when appointed to Uruguay and provided his partner with paid employment.
During his time in Montevideo, he was allegedly found stuck in a lift with a young man.
On another occasion, he was reportedly beaten up in a gay meeting area in the Uruguayan capital.
After complaints from church officials in Uruguay, the Catholic Church moved Monsignor Ricca to Trinidad in 2001 and fired his lover from his Montevideo post.
After leaving Trinidad a year later, Monsignor Ricca returned to Rome, where he created a network of friendships that led to his new appointment as Prelate of the Vatican Bank, in charge of cleaning up Vatican finances, prompting all the attention to his previous private life.
The Trinidad press has been on the case and found that none of the allegations against Monsignor Ricca took place while he was serving in Port of Spain.
Now it’s Notting Hill volunteers – First Toronto’s Caribana recruited and started training up volunteers for its Carnival at the beginning of August.
Now, London’s Notting Hill Carnival organisers have joined the volunteer recruitment path made popular at the London 2012 Olympics.
An ad by Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust posted on 25 July asked for “enthusiastic people” for administrative, operational, PR, hosting, parade and artist support.
“So if you think you have what it takes and would like to be part of one of the biggest outdoor events in the UK we look forward to hearing from you,” the ad said.
On social media
Royal baby humour – Caribbean humour was at its brightest and best when it came to the newly-born third in line to the British throne.
The future head of state of several Caribbean countries - aka the newly-born son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – got his fair share attention on social media.
In fact, the child’s future role was soon mentioned by one Jamaican commentator, who tweeted that this would be Jamaica’s future head of state if it didn’t get on with the discussion on changing the constitution.
Jamaica has been flirting with the idea of removing the Queen as head of state for some years.
Back to the first TV pictures of the new third in line to the throne, which were beamed all over the world and tweeted upon just as quickly.
“A closer look at #RoyalBaby. You can tell he’s 8lbs 6 ounces by the size of his headJ” said one tweet.
“LOOK AT PEOPLE!” said one tweet on the crowd outside St Mary’s hospital.
“Time to pay up. Lost my bet that the royal baby would be called Rashid. Next time...” said another wit.
“Please, please, lift him up like Simba in the Lion King. Please,” said another.
Quote of the week:
"As Jamaicans we're very proud of our athletes so it's kind of rough," he said. Hopefully this will work out. I just have to continue working hard and bring glory to my country." Usain Bolt on the drug doping allegations against some Jamaican athletes. He was speaking at a London news conference ahead of the London Anniversary Games.